My God do I have gaps of knowledge, none of which I am proud of either. With time, however, I find that most people do. Some are shocking, some are funny, but more often than not; it’s both.
I’ll put myself into the shooting line; I am terrible at maths. And geography. Of course, these are not the only two things missing from my brain but for an adult, my understanding of these are just an embarrassment. I cringe at my work colleague when he has his excel spreadsheet open as much as I cringe when I see a world map. Okay, maybe not so much the latter. It just reminds me that I have some serious knowledge gaps when it comes down to it and I falter with general knowledge quizzes pertaining to these topics.
Numbers never appealed to me. To jump into the stereotype, Asians (both southern and eastern) are supposed to be good at it. To my mother’s shocking realisation, I couldn’t even pass through with average marks. I was fine with maths back in school up to a certain point. Up to the point where they decided to add letters (I know I am supposed to like letters but not in conjunction with numbers). Of course trying to fulfil my south Asian duty as a maths genius I decided to take it up in further studies which led to some abysmal grades (abysmal as in, I might as well not have shown up to take the test). I dropped the subject a year in and never looked back. Well, I maybe looked back once or twice just to cringe and wonder why I wasted so much time on it but my affinity for words definitely overshadowed it.
A great case study; I was working on my desk next to a girl who does research and analyses numbers for a living. We did the type test – which tells you how many words per minute you can get down. There was an incredible difference in our abilities (naturally). A few minutes later, she manages to guess the percentage of how much 134 of 5000 is without the use of a bloody calculator. Strengths and weaknesses can vary to such extremes.
So I’ve seen some YouTube videos where adults have a worse time trying to decipher where continents are than I do; so that makes me feel a little better (I’m an optimist). From reading this I’m sure you’ll realise my bar isn’t set that high. If geography is used in relation to history I might be able to pay attention there but in and by itself – hell no. Heck, I can fly to the Philippines, not knowing or caring where it is on the map as long as I know how long the flight will be = practicality (tunnel vision).
One thing I’ve realised is the reason these gaps of knowledge appear over time is because of incredible disinterest. Very few decide to set on a journey where they are perfectly well-rounded individuals with a decent chunk of knowledge in all the major subjects. Yet we prioritise based on our innate passions, our plans for the future and of course what is happening around us. No doubt, writing and reading happen to be a gap in knowledge for plenty of people out there, our gaps of knowledge come from the way we mould ourselves. We could quite literally just take a day a week to learn and fill those in but we couldn’t care less about these topics. We’d rather use those hours on what we do love.
I’m not going to be a hypocrite and say ‘fill those gaps in’ because I’ve never bothered to do so with mine, maybe in time I will. I might even develop an interest (incredibly unlikely when it comes to maths) but at the same time, it’s not a bad idea to cover those bases. You might find something precious within topics you hate such as the reliability and logic maths holds and its stronghold that is not shifted by opinion or bias. I guess it’s personal to the thinker; is it your duty as a human or a thinker to pro-actively cover areas of no interest to you?